How to choose the right wicks for your candles.

Baleigh Shortreed
4 min readJan 6, 2024


When it comes to creating the perfect candle, selecting the right wick is a crucial step in ensuring an optimal burn and a longer-lasting, enjoyable experience. In this guide, we’ll explore the key factors to consider when choosing a wick for your candle, helping consumers make informed decisions and providing valuable insights for candle makers on the variety of wicks available.

Understanding Wick Specifications

When selecting a wick, you’ll come across four essential specifications: Burn Diameter, Wick Length, Diameter, and Tab Height. These specifications play a vital role in determining the performance of your candle. A helpful starting point is to measure the diameter of your container and match it to the burn diameter of your wick. This ensures a proper fit and efficient burning.

Types of Wicks

Wicks are typically made from braided, plaited, or knitted fibers to encourage a slow and consistent burn. Among these, braided and knitted wicks are considered higher quality compared to twisted wicks. The construction of twisted wicks allows more fuel to reach the flame quickly, resulting in faster burning. Choosing a high-quality wick contributes to a cleaner burn with minimal soot, mushrooming, and even burn pool formation.

Cotton Wicks

Flat Cotton Wicks

Ideal for container candles, these flat, braided cotton wicks offer a consistent and even burn, ensuring a delightful experience throughout the candle’s life.

Square Cotton Wicks

Similar to flat cotton wicks but with a square cross-section, these wicks provide stability and even burning, making them suitable for container candles with a touch of uniqueness.

Wooden Wicks

Crafted from wood, these wicks introduce a distinctive crackling sound during burning, creating a cozy ambiance. Often used in container candles, they bring a unique aesthetic to your candle collection.

Paper or Hemp Wicks

Eco-friendly options, paper or hemp wicks, whether braided or twisted, offer a clean burn. They are a popular choice for those seeking natural and sustainable candle alternatives.

Zinc Core Wicks

Featuring a small zinc wire at the center surrounded by cotton, these wicks are known for their rigidity. They are commonly used in container candles, contributing to a stable burn.

Hemp Wicks

Crafted from natural hemp fibers, these wicks burn cleanly and are a preferred choice for environmentally conscious consumers seeking sustainability.

Lead-Free Wicks

As a response to health concerns, lead wicks have been replaced by lead-free alternatives, typically made of safe materials like cotton. These wicks have become the industry standard.

Self-Trimming Wicks

Engineered to minimize mushrooming and excess carbon buildup, self-trimming wicks reduce the need for manual trimming. They are a convenient choice for candles in containers.

Cored Wicks

Featuring a core made of materials such as cotton or wood, cored wicks provide structural support, influencing burn characteristics. They are versatile and suitable for various candle types.

Identifying the Right Wick

To determine if a wick is suitable for your candle, observe the burn characteristics. A well-chosen wick should produce minimal soot, prevent mushrooming (carbon build-up), and create an even burn pool. If the melt pool does not extend all the way to the container’s wall, it may indicate that the wick is too small. Regularly assessing these factors will help you fine-tune your wick selection for optimal performance.

Single Wick vs. Three-Wick Candles

For those who desire a longer burning time, three-wick candles offer an excellent solution. With three wicks burning simultaneously, the wax melts faster and spreads more evenly within the container. This extended burning time enhances the overall longevity of the candle, providing consumers with a more prolonged and satisfying experience.

The Longevity of Candle Wicks

If you’re seeking the longest burn time, consider opting for triple-wick candles. These candles outperform their single-wick counterparts by burning down the wax evenly in a jar shape, preventing tunneling effects. The efficient distribution of heat across the container ensures a longer-lasting candle, making triple-wick candles an ideal choice for those who want to enjoy their favorite scents for an extended period.

Choosing the right wick is a crucial step in creating the perfect candle, whether you’re a consumer or a candle maker. By understanding the specifications, types, and characteristics of wicks, you can make informed decisions that result in a cleaner burn, minimal soot, and an extended burning time. Whether you prefer single or triple-wick candles, this comprehensive guide empowers you to enhance your candle experience and create products that delight your senses.

Keen on making well-informed candle purchases? Explore our comprehensive candle terms glossary here or our candle care tips blog to discover tips for optimizing the burn experience, ensuring your candles shine their brightest, regardless of their origin. Click now to elevate your candle knowledge!

Relax Responsibly!
Aroma On The Rocks Mixologists



Baleigh Shortreed

Writer, Author, & Entreprenuer teaching you to advocate for yourself through written, verbal, and digital means.